CHRISTMAS AT THE HOME RANCH
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)
It was Christmas at the home ranch
and the line camp boys rode in;
Jack the cook was busy fixin’
fer his Christmas feed agin.
No, we didn’t have no turkey
but a turkey wouldn’t last,
For the boys that work in winter
wreck the grub pile mighty fast.
But we had a big fat yearlin’
that his mother failed to wean
And you bet that home ranch Christmas
was the last he ever seen.
Dusty built a loop and ketched him.
Shore did stop him in his tracks,
Old Romero heeled and stretched him
while we hit him with the ax.
How the boys did git around him,
workin’ like a bunch of bees,
Why we hadn’t hardly downed him
‘fore we’d hung him up to freeze.
Yes, they had the Christmas sperrit,
all the boys was feelin’ good,
Didn’t even have to ast ’em
fer to chop and carry wood.
We had beef and beans and taters,
biscuits, gravy too, likewise,
Good stout coffee and tamaters
and a passel of real pies.
When the cook yelled, “Come and git it!”
and the bunch had all got set,
Our old boss sez “Here’s some Christmas
to be took before you’ve et.”
I don’t need to be a tellin’
’bout the smile on ev’ry face
Fer the old jug held a gellun
and was in a handy place.
We was feelin’ soter holler
when we set up to that stuff,
We could chew but couldn’t swaller
when we ‘lowed we’d had enough.
Then we set around the fire,
didn’t hardly laugh or joke,
So filled up that we was tired,
all we did was set and smoke.
We stayed in till after New Years
fer the outfit had the chance
On a special invitation
to attend the New Year Dance.
Then we ketched our winter hosses,
lots of grub and bed we took,
While the boss held down the home ranch
with the wrangler and the cook.
It was mighty cold them mornin’s
and it made a waddy flinch,
When the frost hung on his whiskers
while he pulled his frozen cinch.
And nobody didn’t miss us,
didn’t anybody keer,
For we’d and been to Christmas
and it had to last a year.
…by Bruce Kiskaddon
The poem was included in Kiskaddon’a 1935 book, Western Poems. Find many more poems and more about Kiskaddon in features at CowboyPoetry.com:
It’s recorded on the double-CD Christmas edition of The BAR-D Roundup from CowboyPoetry.com by North Carolina poet and reciter Keith Ward. Find more about the Christmas CD (and the other 9 volumes) at CowboyPoetry.com. The CDs are all great, affordable Christmas gifts.
Even better: Donate $40 or more to the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry and receive this CD (or any other one of your choice) as a thank you gift. Find a link here for credit card payments and a link for mail payments.
Keith Ward, a popular performer at gatherings, runs a trail ride business. He is an invited performer to the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (January 30-February 5, 2017). Find some of his poetry and more about him at CowboyPoetry.com, and visit his site, dutchcreektrails.com.
This image is the cover of The BAR-D Roundup Christmas CD. It was taken by poet and picker DW Groethe and depicts “Little Buddy” at the Granley Ranch near Bainville, Montana. “Little Buddy” is also featured in “The Legend of Little Buddy the Christmas Steer” that is on the double Christmas CD.